What’s In Our Tap Water?

Everyday we turn on our tap for water and never question what’s in it. We assume that the flowing water is pure and clean and ready to drink and cook with. But do we really know what’s in our water?

Here in Australia, we are lucky enough to live in a country with very high standards of water quality control and therefore, we have great drinking water. But the water quality leaving the treatment plant is not the same as when it comes out of our tap, as it will have travelled through kilometres of pipes made up of various metals, age and condition, that can affect its quality.

The Water Journey

Before water reaches our home, it is treated at your local water treatment plants. Typically, the water first flows through fine screens to remove debris, like twigs and leaves. A coagulant is added to make particles stick together so they can be more easily filtered out. Once filtered, Chlorine is added, to eliminate any harmful bacteria and viruses, and then fluoride is added under advice from Australian Drinking Water Guidelines*.

So how do the impurities get into our water?

Clean water from treatment plants then travel through many kilometres of mains pipes depends on where you live, before reaching our homes. And the most common types include galvanised steel or iron, copper, and more recently PVC (polyvinyl chloride). There are a number of contributing factors such as the type of pipes the water travels through, the age and condition of the pipes and the infrastructure of your area and surround.

One of the most common types of Mains pipes is galvanised steel or iron. They are very susceptible to corrosion (rust) as they age. The rust usually forms a sediment that settles on the bottom of the pipe and remains there until stirred up by repairs to the pipes or changes in pressure.  So as water travels through the corroded pipes, it can pick up rust, dirt, and sediments along the way.

Copper pipes have been a popular choice for builders for close to 80 years because they are strong, versatile and durable. They protect water from external contaminants and are resistant to bacteria growth and corrosion. One downside is that they were most commonly joined together with Lead solder until it was banned in 1986 which means heavy metals such as Lead can leach into the water. If you live in an old house, chances are the lead soldering would still be in use.

Lastly, any construction or repair work in your local area can stir up a lot of dirt, rust or debris underground that can easily seep into any cracks or leaks in old pipes. Additionally, any repair on broken or burst pipes can also cause sudden, high flows in pipes, causing biofilms to detach and stirring up sediments and other particles.

The bottom line is no matter where we live, chances are our water is being affected by the pipes that water travels through. There is a simple way to ensure your family is protected from all the nasty chemicals, heavy metals and sediments that can be lurking in our water, click here to find out how BRITA Filtration works to transform your tap water.